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Commissioners still onboard with ordinance

September 14, 2011
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners, at their meeting Aug. 30 at the judicial complex in English, reiterated their commitment to an ordinance the board passed in July 2010 requiring facilities like the woody-biomass-to-electricity plant that had been proposed for near Milltown to be licensed.

They did so at the request of Cara Beth Jones of the Concerned Citizens of Crawford County, which was formed soon after Liberty Green Renewables Indiana announced in late 2008 its plans to build a biomass plant northwest of the intersection of state roads 64 and 66 North.

The Concerned Citizens, once a mainstay at the commissioners' meetings, have attended few meetings since the licensing ordinance was adopted. In addition, LGR, which also proposed building a plant in Scottsburg, pulled its request not to be regulated by the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission after Scottsburg citizens filed suit. Also, a court granted a motion to stay LGR's air permit with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Jones, however, noted that other counties, including neighboring Dubois, are facing similar threats. After presenting the commissioners with documentation regarding the pollution of such facilities and their cost inefficiencies, she asked the commissioners to restate their support of the licensing ordinance.

"You did a remarkable thing here, and I will tell you that you were talked about in every county I've been as the people with common sense that (did) what the citizens wanted their elected officials to do to protect them," she said.

"Your passing of the ordinance really showed that you were looking out for the health and welfare of the citizens, but I really need to ask you tonight on record will each one of you work to protect the ordinance that you passed?"

District 2 Commissioner Randy Gilmore and Jim Schultz, president of the board, both said they would and would not have voted for it otherwise. District 1 Commissioner Daniel Crecelius, who wasn't a member of the board when the ordinance was adopted, also said he supports it.

"I think the citizens needed to hear this," Jones said.

She added that the news will be well received by biomass opponents in Scott and Dubois counties.

"I know that I'm going to get a lot of claps and hoorahs when I make my phone calls to Scottsburg and Dubois County because they will really appreciate this," she said.

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